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JIS thanks Rasberry for school impact

Jemison Intermediate School awarded Billy Rasberry on May 22 with a service plaque for his contributions to the construction of the JIS playground — currently a large playing field located behind the school building.

Accompanied by several county and Jemison city officials, Superintendent of Education Tommy Glasscock presented the service award to Rasberry during an honors ceremony recognizing graduating JIS sixth graders.

Principal D.J. Nix of JIS thanked Rasberry for his impact on the school.

“He rallied the community and came up with the plan to have it done,” Nix said. “Thanks to the county commissioners and especially Allen Caton for seeing the project through.”

The county implemented $1.5 million worth of machinery and equipment to complete the job — a project that Nix said totaled $350,000.

“Billy opened my eyes up,” Nix said, explaining that Rasberry had a vision for Jemison.

“I saw JIS students playing on a playground; Billy Rasberry saw a bigger picture for the whole Jemison community,” Nix said.

According to Nix, the vision included the playground for JIS students and future opportunities for local sports teams to use the JIS field.

Rasberry said he wanted to give children the opportunity to grow up playing as well as he did as a child.

“I want the children to have the best,” he said, adding that the county and city want the same thing.

According to Rasberry, playing on rocky and considerably unsafe terrain was not the best option for JIS students.

With the help of the county, city, JIS teachers and students — and 236 dump truck loads of dirt — Rasberry’s vision came to life as the leveled ground was crowned with 12-18 inches of top soil.

“I couldn’t have done it without the board of education, county commission — everybody,” Rasberry said.

Rasberry extends special thanks to Glasscock and the Board of Education, Caton and the Chilton County Commission, the Chilton County Road Department, Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed, Larry Avery and Superior Products, Alabama Sand and Gravel and George Plier.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about you and your family, and I know and I saw the great things that you did,” Glasscock told Rasberry as he presented him with the plaque. “On behalf of the superintendent’s office and the board of education, we’re excited to present you this plaque that merely says, ‘With our greatest appreciation, we present Billy Rasberry with this service award in recognition of your dedicated services to Jemison Intermediate School and the Jemison community. Thank you very much.’”